Central Saanich Fire’s Stacy Lee and Sidney Fire’s Rick Toogood join Sidney Lions Food Bank Executive Director Bev Elder in the food bank’s storage area. The food bank has a lot of demand yet to be filled this month. (Steven Heywood/News staff)

Saanich Peninsula firefighters’ food drive this Saturday

Annual food-and-fund-raiser hopes to top last year’s donations; at least in cash

Saanich Peninsula firefighters and their families will be on the streets this weekend, collecting food and cash for the Sidney Lions Food Bank.

It’s an annual tradition — local fire departments lend their visibility — and muscle — to help stock the shelves of the local food bank.

On Saturday, Dec. 16, the North Saanich Fire Department will be in Dean Park from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., collecting donations. They encourage people to leave donations at the end of their driveways, if they do not plan on being at home that afternoon.

Central Saanich firefighters, said Stacy Lee, will be doing the same in their neighbourhoods from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Lee said special grocery bags were distributed recently, so people can fill them up and place them outside their homes for pick up.

“Hopefully, a lot of people will leave those bags out,” he said.

Sidney’s firefighters will be out with their trucks between 4 and 8 p.m. and the department’s Rick Toogood said they hope to met or beat last year’s 234 boxes of food and $7,100 in cash.

The focus this year is on collecting cash donations. That’s because the food bank can stretch each dollar into much more food and other needed items through their connections with local stores.

Executive Director of the Sidney Lions Food Bank, Bev Elder, said overall food donations so far this month have been slower then in the past— yet demand continued to be high for food bank services. Already, the Christmas hampers program has been completely booked by families in need — 432 households this month, compared with 300-plus in 2016.

Elder said of other families are in need, she can direct them to other agencies, but until the food bank gets more donations, their current hampers are spoken for. And those will be handed out to people from Dec. 13 to 15.

Watch for your local firefighters, out in force this Saturday, and consider lending the food bank a hand.

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